When I drive from my place to get coffee, there are two stop signs, then two sets of traffic lights.
This morning, though, when I got to the first set of lights, I felt absolutely certain that I’d only seen one stop sign.
So what had happened?
Did I stop at both signs, but only remember one of them?
Or — much worse — did I sail past the second sign, straight across the junction?
I’m pretty sure it was the first of these two, and I’m also pretty confident that it wasn’t some kind of memory problem, but just that thing where you do something routine and enter that kind of auto-pilot state.
It can often happen if you’re driving along a very familiar route.
Fortunately, minute-by-minute, part of your brain is indeed engaged with what you’re doing.
Another part of it, however, may be occupied with thinking what it believes are deep(ish) thoughts.
I suspect that if something out of the ordinary happened, like a child or animal running into the road, you’d instantly react.
But doesn’t it make you think about how much of your day can be spent behaving automatically, though?
And, don’t forget, this is time you’ll never get back.
So here’s my suggestion for today, then.
At the risk of upsetting your dentist (and I won’t tell her or him if you don’t) next time you clean your teeth, do it with the “other” hand.
Left if you’re right-handed, right if you’re left.
Your teeth may not get quite the clean they usually receive, but you may well find yourself being far more in the moment than you usually would be.
Changing routines is often a helpful mood-building idea, as is finding ways to be much more aware of what you’re doing.
Will changing hands change your life?
Will it be interesting?
It might even make you laugh.